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RBC I A key component to winning the battle for keeping public lands open to motorized OHV usage involves rallying Colorado businesses to fully embrace OHV tourism. In reality, it is more complicated than just convincing business owners they can benefit economically from becoming OHV friendly.
There are three key components that must be present before determining if there is a chance for positive return on investment for community businesses.
n A convenient trail system that will provide an entertaining OHV experience.
n Full support from the government agencies who manage that OHV trail system.
n Enlightened city/county government with a vision which endorses OHV tourism.
If all three of these components are present, then there is a strong possibility that OHV tourism could flourish. However, even if the business community is in full support, absence of any of these three components can spell disaster. While this may sound like am insurmountable situation, I can assure you it can be done.
COHVCO recently sponsored the first annual White River COHVCO OHV Rendezvous. The rendezvous was held in Rio Blanco County. The town of Meeker was the base camp. Rio Blanco County and the Meeker Chamber of Commerce were 100 percent supportive. In fact, the Town of Meeker and Rio Blanco County went above and beyond to make sure OHVrs felt welcome. A key component of that “welcome” was the county ordinance recently passed allowing non-licensed OHVs to travel on county roads. In addition to providing convenient access for OHVrs to access town, Meeker also had welcome banners at both ends of town as well as banners in front of supporting businesses … and there were plenty of supporting businesses that benefitted directly from OHV patronage!
The White River National Forest was the hosting government agency. The USFS was 100 percent supportive of providing a first-class OHV experience, now named the Wagon Wheel Trail System. In fact, the USFS had the vision to realize that many new UTVs are a bit wider than ATV/UTVs produced in the past and have specifically engineered much of the Wagon Wheel Trail system to accommodate 64-inch wide UTVs. This is unprecedented in Colorado! The USFS also worked closely with the city and county to develop an excellent map which was provided to each of the 60 participants in the first annual White River COHVCO OHV Rendezvous.
n The participants had a very satisfying OHV experience.
n The USFS was an excellent partner and there were ZERO warnings or citations.
n The Meeker/RioBlanco city/county OHV tourism vision has come to fruition.
Last but certainly not least, local businesses in Rio Blanco County saw firsthand how the OHV community can provide a positive economic impact. There’s plenty of riding days left this summer. Head out to Meeker and show your support. They will greet you with open arms. Stop at the Meeker Chamber of Commerce visitor center and get your free Wagon Wheel Trail system OHV map. Also, come join us next year for the second annual White River COHVCO OHV Rendezvous. Check the COHVCO website for Rendezvous details. See you on the trail!